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EDITORIAL: Funeral homes deal with a pandemic  

EDITORIAL: Funeral homes deal with a pandemic  

An editorial from the Cheshire Herald:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time discussing exactly how society is adapting to our “new normal.” Focus has been centered on remote learning, out-of-office working, and the realities of a public health crisis that is leaving an economic one in its wake.

But one of the truly sad ironies of our current moment is that, as more people succumb to this deadly disease, those in mourning are required to remain apart. Just when so many are in need of “strength in numbers” during their moment of grief, the sorrow must oftentimes be suffered in isolation. 

Funeral homes across the country have been dealing with this issue for weeks now. How do they adapt a business model that for years has relied on offering family and friends a safe place to congregate when it is exactly those types of gatherings that are being discouraged? How do you respect the needs and desires of heartbroken family members while also observing the necessary protocols to keep people safe?

As the state and nation begin a phased-in reopening over the next several weeks, attention must be paid to allowing some way for funeral homes to offer their normal services again, in as safe an environment as possible. It will be difficult, but not impossible, and those who are suffering through loss at the moment need their time together. They need to be able to grieve with, not apart, from others.

And as funeral homes slowly begin to offer their usual comfort, it’s incumbent on all of us to do the same. Our attention should never stray from those who have suffered the most through this pandemic.

Yes, we should be celebrating happy moments with “parades” and other creative expressions of congratulations. Neighbors should be helping neighbors with everything from grocery lists to outdoor projects. But we should also look to comfort those who have lost a loved one, whether to COVID-19 or some other illness or accident. Right now, that comfort will have to be offered without a hug or a hand held, but the day will come, and come soon, when we can connect once again. Until then, each of us can find a way to reach out and help those who are grieving, letting them know that they need not suffer alone.

If we can find creative ways to send well wishes for someone’s birthday, we can find ways to show support for someone whose life has been most impacted by this terrible moment in history.

We don’t yet know what lessons will be learned from this current crisis. The pandemic is still taking its toll on our country, both in terms of lives and finances. For the first time in 100 years, every single American is, at some level and in some way, sharing in the pain. When future generations ask about the pandemic, they will not inquire, “Where were you when ... ?” but, rather, “What did you do?” when it was all happening.

Hopefully, each of us will be able to answer that our time was well spent — that, while being asked to just “stay home,” we still found ways to fight the virus. And for those of us who are fortunate to emerge from this crisis with healthy and happy family and friends, we’ll remember how we helped those who did not, for they are the ones who will need our attention moving forward.